Andrew Dugmore


(PhD U of Aberdeen, Scotland 1985; Professor of Geosciences, Institute of Geography, School of GeoSciences, U of Edinburgh) The development of both the principles and applications of tephrochronology; Quaternary environmental reconstruction; Human-environment interactions, climate change and glacier fluctuations; Iceland and the North Atlantic islands (

Current PhD graduate student supervisions in geography at the University of Edinburgh: 2

Completed PhD graduate supervisions, 1997-present: 40

My research is focused on understanding environmental change over timescales from decades to millennia, and their significance for human society. A key theme is the development and application of tephrochronology; a dating technique based on the identification and correlation of volcanic ash layers. Tephrochronology is important because tephra layers form time-parallel marker horizons or isochrons that provide a powerful dating framework for the high-resolution spatial analysis of environmental change. It is possible to precisely relate spatial patterns of environmental change, inferred using tephras, to high resolution time series of data from ice core records and written records of historical events in order to better understand both climate change and the human dimensions of environmental change. In addition to many applications in the study of environmental change tephra (and the volcanic eruptions that produced them) may also act as agents of change, affecting climate, natural environments and human society.

A particular interest has been the use of fine-grained micro-tephra deposits. These deposits are important because they permit both increased dating resolution in areas close to volcanoes and the use of tephrochronology over very long distances. Since 1982, joint research in Iceland and the NE Atlantic region has contributed to the development of one of the world’s largest and most detailed tephrochronologies: ca. 12,000-year record including more than 300 tephras, and more than 2,000 original stratigraphic sections. Applications of tephrochronology range from dating archaeological deposits to understanding the patterns and processes of soil erosion, slope movements, glacier chronology and the study of glacier processes.

Recent representative publications

  1. Jackson R., Arneborg J., Dugmore A.J.,  Harrison R., Hartman S.,  Madsen K., Ogilvie A., Simpson I., Smiarowski K. and Mcgoovern T.H. 2022 Success and Failure in the Norse North Atlantic: Origins, Pathway Divergence, Extinction and Survival. In A. Izdebski et al. (eds.), Perspectives on Public Policy in Societal-Environmental Crises, Risk, Systems and Decisions,
  2. Wells, G.H., Dugmore, A.J., Beach, T., Sæmundsson, Þ., Baynes, E.R.C., Luzzadder-Beach, S.. 2021 ‘Reconstructing glacial outburst flood (jökulhlaup) from geomorphology: challenges, solutions, and an enhanced framework’ Progress in Physical Geography
  3. Opitz, R., Strawhacker, C., Buckland, P.I., Cothren, J., Dawson, T., Dugmore, A.J., Hambrecht, G., Koster, W., Lethbridge, E., Mainland, I., McGovern, T., Newton, A.J., Palsson, G.,  Ryan, t., Streeter, r.t., Stade, e., Szabo, V., Thompson, P.T. 2021. ‘A Lockpick’s Guide to dataARC: Designing Infrastructures and Building Communities to Enable Transdisciplinary Research’. Internet Archaeology, 56.
  4. Cutler, N.A., Streeter, R.T., Dugmore, A.J., Sear, E.R., 2021 ‘How do the grain size characteristics of a tephra deposit change over time?’ Bulletin of Volcanology 83:45
  5. Thompson P. I. J., Dugmore A. J., Newton A. J., Streeter R. T. and Cutler N. A., 2021 Variations in tephra stratigraphy created by small-scale surface features in sub-polar landscapes, Boreas,  25 September 2021
  6. Cooper, D. M., Dugmore A.J., Kitchener A.C., Metzger M.J., Trabucco, A. 2021. ‘A kingdom in decline. Holocene range contraction of the lion (Panthera leo) modelled with Global Environmental Stratification’. PeerJ 2021; 9: e10504. doi: 10.7717/peerj.10504
  7. Schmid M.M.E., Dugmore, A.J. Newton, A.J., Vésteinsson, O. 2021. ‘Multi-disciplinary, chronological data from Iceland indicate a Viking Age settlement flood, rather than a flow or trickle’. In: Napolitano, M.F, Stone, J.H. and DiNapoli, R.J.. (Eds.) The Archaeology of Island Colonization University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
  8. Dugmore A.J., Jackson R., Cooper D., Newton A.J., Júlíusson A.D., Streeter R.T., Hreinsson V., Crabtree S., Hambrecht G., Hicks M. and McGovern T.H. 2020. ‘Continuity in the face of a slowly unfolding catastrophe: the persistence of Icelandic settlement despite large-scale soil erosion.’ In P. Sheets and F. Riede (Eds) Going forward by looking back: Archaeological Perspectives on Socio-Ecological Crisis, Response, and Collapse. Catastrophes in Context Volume 3. Berghahn Books: New York pp162-199
  9. Dugmore, A.J., Thompson, P. I. J., Streeter, R.T., Cutler, N.A., Newton A.J. and Kirkbride M.P. 2020 ‘The interpretative value of transformed tephra sequences’ Journal of Quaternary Science, 35 (1-2) 23-38
  10. George Hambrecht, Cecilia Anderung, Seth Brewington, Andrew Dugmore, Ragnar Edvardsson, Francis Feeley, Kevin Gibbons, Ramona Harrison, Megan Hicks, Rowan Jackson, Guðbjörg Ásta Ólafsdóttir, Marcy Rockman, Konrad Smiarowski, Richard Streeter, Vicki Szabo, Thomas McGovern, 2020 (Available online 2018) ‘Archaeological Sites as Distributed Long-term Observing Networks of the Past (DONOP)’ Quaternary International 549, 218-226.
  11. Schmid M.M.E., Newton, A.J., Dugmore, A.J. 2020. ‘From Sites to regional Synthesis. Collective chronologies of late Viking Age and Early Christian Activities in Iceland’. In: Pedersen, A. and Sindbæk, S.M. (eds.) Viking encounters. Proceedings of the 18th Viking Congress, Denmark, August 6‑12, 2017. Aarhus University Press, Aarhus (2020).
  12. Cutler, N.A.; Streeter, R.T., Engwell, S.L., Bolton, M.S., Jensen, B.J.L. and Dugmore, A.J. 2020. ‘How does tephra deposit thickness change over time? A calibration exercise based on the 1980 Mount St Helens tephra deposit’ Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 399, 106883 2020
  13. Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttir, AJ Newton, MT. Hicks, AJ Dugmore, V Hreinsson, AEJ Ogilvie, Á D Júlíusson, Á Einarsson, S Hartman, IA Simpson, O Vésteinsson, TH McGovern. 2019. ‘Trolls, Water, Time, and Community: Resource Management in the Mývatn District of Northeast Iceland’ In: Global Perspectives on Long-Term Community Resource Management, Ludomir R. Lozny and Thomas H. McGovern (Eds.), pp. 77-101. Springer, Cham, 2019.
  14. Swindles G.T., Outram Z., Batt C.M., Hamilton W.D., Church M.J., Bond J.M., Watson E.W., Cook G.T., Newton A.J. Dugmore A.J. 2019 ‘Vikings, peat formation and settlement abandonment: a multi-method chronological approach from Shetland’ Quaternary Science Reviews 210, 211-25
  15. Preston J., Sanderson D., Kinnaird T., Newton A.J., Nitter M., Coolen J., Mehler N., Dugmore A.J. 2019 ‘Dynamic beach response to changing storminess of Unst, Shetland: impacts on landing places exploited by Norse communities.’ Journal of Island & Coastal Archaeology 2019, 1-26
  16. Schmid M.M.E., Dugmore A.J., Newton A.J., Vésteinsson O., Wood R. 2019 ‘Enhancing Radiocarbon Chronologies of Colonization: Chronometric hygiene revisited’ Radiocarbon 2019, 1-19.
  17. Dugmore, A.J. and Ralston , I.B.M. 2019 ‘Human Traces’ In Nick Kempe and Mark Wrightham (eds.) Hostile Habitats: Scotland’s mountain environment 2ND Edinburgh: The Scottish Mountaineering Trust (publications) 234-257. ISBN 9781907233258
  18. Cutler N.A., Streeter R.T., Marple J., Shotter L.R., Yeoh J.S., Dugmore A.J., 2018 ‘Tephra transformations: variable preservation of tephra layers from two well-studied eruptions.’ Bulletin of Volcanology (2018) 80: 77.
  19. Jackson R., Dugmore A.J., Riede F. 2018 ‘Rediscovering lessons of adaptation from the past’ Global Environmental Change 52, 58-65.
  20. Jackson R., Arneborg J., Dugmore A.J., Madsen, C.K., McGovern, T.H., Smiarowski, K., and  Streeter, R.T. 2018. ‘Disequilibrium, adaptation and the Norse settlement of Greenland,’ Human Ecology 46(5), pp.665-684.
  21. Schmid M.M.E., Dugmore A.J., Forest L., Newton A.J. Vésteinsson O., Wood, R. 2018. ‘How 14C dates on wood charcoal increase precision when dating colonization: The examples of Iceland and Polynesia’ Quaternary Geochronology Available online 26 July 2018,
  22. Baynes E.R.C., Lague D., Attal M., Gangloff A., Kirstein L.A., Dugmore A.J.. 2018. ‘River self-organisation inhibits discharge control on waterfall migration’. Scientific Reports, 8(1), p.2444.
  23. John Preston, Simon Mudd, Martin Hurst, Anthony Newton, and Andrew J. Dugmore, 2018 ‘A predictive model of beach formation along a headland-dominated high-energy coastline.’ Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 43, 2421–2434 (2018)
  24. Dugmore, A.J., Streeter, R.T., and Cutler, N.A. 2018. The role of vegetation cover and slope angle in tephra layer preservation and implications for Quaternary tephrostratigraphy. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 489, 105-116
  25. Nelson MC, Ingram SE, Dugmore AJ et al., 2015. Climate Challenges, Vulnerabilities, and Food Security. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS, 113, 2, 298-303
  26. Baynes ERC, Attal M, Niedermann S, Kirstein LA, Dugmore AJ and Naylor M Erosion during extreme flood events dominates Holocene canyon evolution in North – East Iceland, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS 112, 8, 2355 2360
  27. Streeter RT and Dugmore AJ 2014 ‘Late-Holocene land surface change in a coupled social-ecological system, southern Iceland: a cross-scale tephrochronology approach.’ Quaternary Science Reviews 86 (2014) 99-114
  28. Streeter RT and Dugmore AJ 2013 Anticipating land surface change. Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesPNAS 110 (15), 5779-5784.
  29. Dugmore AJ,. McGovern TH, Vésteinsson O, et al . 2012 Cultural adaptation, compounding vulnerabilities and conjunctures in Norse Greenland. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS 109 (10), 3658-3663.
  30. Streeter RT, Dugmore AJ and Vésteinsson O 2012. Plague and landscape resilience in premodern Iceland. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS 109 (10), 3664-3669.


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